Ohio Horseman’s Council offers to re-roof horse barn

by Sue Serdinak

July 24 RJRD meeting

Accepting a donation of a new roof on a barn can become complicated when the parties involved are a government entity and a nonprofit organization.

The Summit County chapter of the Ohio Horseman’s Council has helped restore, build and maintain about five miles of equestrian trails in the Richfield Heritage Preserve since it was acquired by Richfield Village and Richfield Township in 2014.  The group also has had fundraisers to replace the roof of the Summer Barn in the park.

Representing OHC, member Molly Eastwood reported to the Richfield Joint Recreation District board that the organization has raised $18,500 to replace the roof. Eastwood said the group has negotiated with a contractor to remove the existing roof and replace it with a new metal roof and gutters. The contractor is ready to start immediately.

Eastwood said the negotiated price requires that payment must be made by a nonprofit organization.

However, RJRD board members told Eastwood that as a government body, the board must follow more stringent protocol before giving approval for the work to go forward.

Board member Dave Wehner asked who would sign the contract. “My thoughts go to mechanics’ liens,’’ he said. “How do we make sure RJRD is protected? We have no control over anything.”

“It seems like [this is] a low risk but it might be difficult to navigate,” said board member Mike Lyons. He added that the builder must have workers’ compensation insurance.

Richfield Village Council President Sue Ann Philippbar advised from the audience that a 10% contingency is often added in the calculation of anticipated costs.

“Traditionally, when only one contractor is available the 10% isn’t needed,” replied Lyons.

Board member Holly Price said she did not want the donation to automatically make OHC a Champion of that building. “With the Champion program there has to be a formal proposal,” she said.  “I wonder if this is the avenue to try to accomplish this.”

“Would you agree to complete this project without it being called part of a Champion application?” asked board Chair Anita Gantner. 

“Do you agree that if we go ahead and vote on this, we are just voting on this donation?” she asked.

Eastwood agreed to both terms and will provide the liability-protection documents to the board.

The board voted unanimously to accept the group’s proposal to replace the roof, subject to contract terms acceptable to RJRD and providing documents demonstrating the contractor has adequate insurance and workers’ compensation.

Lyons assured Eastwood that final approval could be handled administratively, and she would not have to come before the board again.

Funds re-allocated

Park Director John Piepsny was absent from the meeting, and in his absence Gantner reported that $4,000 needed to be re-allocated to the advertising fund. She said the fund would be short money needed to advertise the upcoming music festival.

Administrative Assistant Polly Wheeler said about $4,000 was spent on creating and mailing the spring/summer event brochure. That money was taken from the advertising fund.  She also said future brochures would be available only online.

The vote to re-allocate $4,000 to the advertising fund was approved with Price voting “no.” “I think this was a little shortsighted,” Price said.

Oviatt House

Judy Bowman, president of Oviatt House Inc., reported that volunteers worked 1,099 hours in the second quarter of 2023 and completed the first phase of the project. Their work included restoration of the roof, siding, chimney and sill beams and removal of non-original interior components.

Bowman said research revealed that the original home did not have a door on the north side, nor a front porch. The existing door and porch were both removed.  A small back addition, with a concrete floor, was not removed because of the cost of demolition.

The hardwood floor on the first floor was restored using donated custom-milled flooring from Ohio Hardwood Furniture. In addition, interior walls were framed, old gas pipes removed, siding repaired and painted and window sashes painted.

Bowman said the group can’t take the step of creating a museum in the building because the lower lake dam remains classified as 2. It must be classified as a 1 before the building can be occupied.

The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources classifies dams according to the volume of water that is stored behind them and the condition of the dam. Although significant work was done on the lower lake dam, which is east of the Oviatt House, the state has not reclassified it.


Corey Ringle, president of Friends of Richfield Heritage Preserve, reported that their volunteers continue to work feverishly to restore the Amity House by Aug. 18, so it can be used for a scheduled music festival. The original deadline for the restoration was November.

Volunteers installed a first-floor bathroom and removed tile and metal lathe from the second-floor bathroom. They installed butcher-block countertops in the kitchen, plastered the entry hall and wallpapered the dining room.

The park director has asked the Friends to do other projects in the park, dividing their time with the Amity House.  They installed gutters and replaced over 50 slates on the North House roof. They removed walls and updated the electric outlets in the pool house to use it for storage.

Friends volunteers also back-filled latrines near two cabins. They thinned the gravel on the hill near the Garfield building and groomed some of the trails.

Friends social volunteers led a narrated Kirby history hike for attendees of a sports camp.

The RJRD board and Friends continue to negotiate the terms of their memorandum of understanding. Friends wants to continue to raise funds to complete the restoration of the Kirby House. ∞

Equestrians ride the trails in the Richfield Heritage Preserve near the Summer Barn that is slated for a new roof. Photo provided by OHC.

Employees of National Interstate Insurance in Richfield applied sealant to Adirondack chairs, painted picnic tables, scraped loose paint from the Lodge, and relocated picnic tables in the Richfield Heritage Preserve. The volunteers are part of National Interstate’s graduate development program, Ignition, which is dedicated to educating its participants about insurance and promoting community service to aid in their professional growth. Photo by S. Czaplicki.

Employees from CESO, an engineering firm based in Akron, created a new boardwalk in the Richfield Heritage Preserve. The former boardwalk was narrow and slippery in wet weather. The company donated two tons of gravel and structural screws for the project. Photo by S. Czaplicki.

Sloan Unger caught a nice sized fish from the upper lake of Richfield Heritage Preserve during summer camp.  Photo by S. Czaplicki.